Sometimes you have to laugh at the things people come out with. Fintan O’Toole in a recent Irish Times article cited yet again Churchill’s famous ‘dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone’. But of all the times I’ve seen that line repeated, I’ve never read anyone who pointed out that the dreariness of Fermanagh and Tyrone is not an innate quality, but the product of British intervention in Irish affairs. It’s as if the Irish were being boringly repetitive in going on about their need to be free from Britain. It’s an old and almost risible ruse: blame the victim.
Another line which is worn threadbare with use is “That’s a good idea but now is not the time.” During the civil rights campaign, it was often cited: we understand your frustration with injustice, but this is not the time to bring people out on the streets.” I expect the African-Americans heard similar advice during their drive for equality in the 1960s. Another way of putting it is “We sympathise with your cause and that’s why we’re saying you shouldn’t be taking the approach you are.”
Brian Walker has an article on the Irish Times website titled ‘Pushing the Irish unity agenda could backfire on the South’. You can read it for yourself but the title goes to the heart of it: to agitate for Irish unity will stiffen the resolve of unionists and Britain not to give it. So you have two choices: shut up about a united Ireland and let the sleeping dog lie. Or give the sleeping dog a solid boot and be prepared to have your foot and leg mauled by an angry mastiff.
There is never a good time to talk about Irish unity. It may stoke Protestant fears, it may encourage the men of violence, it could damage Anglo-Irish relations (and did we mention that Anglo-Irish relations have never been better?)
There will never be a time when discussion of or agitation for a reunited Ireland is welcomed. The British government doesn’t want to be reminded of the recipe for disaster that the creation of partition has been; unionist politicians don’t want anyone to suggest that their wee country mightn’t after all be a country but rather a dreary misshapen creation whose raison d’etre – a permanent unionist majority – is melting like a 99 in 25 degrees weather.
No, sorry, Brian. Don’t mention the fault-line that runs through Anglo-Irish relations? That makes as much sense as Basil Fawlty’s desperate efforts not to mention the war.
We heard the same guff and nonsense a few days ago on Radio Ulster from David Trimbles’ former adviser. Teresa May also comes off with the same line regarding Scottish Indyref2. Now is not the right time. If not now, When?
I’m waiting with interest on your post about your friend Roof Deadly. I know you must have heard her on Nolan this morning. Her accent and condescension would put you off her offer of water in the desert. But you have hit the nail here, jude. You don’t want to mention a ‘re United Ireland because it might offend the unionists. Meet them on holidays and after a few drinks to loosen up, that’s all they want to talk about. The fact that the south can’t afford and doesn’t want us and the northern catholics don’t really want a UI.
I only heard a brief 10 mins of the show. Being a Catholic, I was so offended by her comments on my inability to forgive compared to my protestant neighbours. I’d love to forgive her for the hurt she caused me but hey Ruth, how can I if its been inbred from any early age that I cant? Shocking stuff that went totally unchallenged
Totally unchallenged was the most glaring thing as we all would have known what ruthless was going to say, the interviewer should have been prepared for this.
What offends me about Doddery Edwards is that she refers to herself as a ‘historian’.
Historians deal with historical facts, something she has never been accused of doing!
Her raison d’être is pro-British propaganda where facts are totally irrelevant.
Alas, Fiosrach. I was busy greasing the cat’s boil: a far more educative experience…
A total misrepresentation of Brian Walker’s article.
I don’t agree, Giordano. I think it is a fine precisely of what Brian Walker says and many more think.
well its as simple as this, being a border rover who crosses 3-4 times a day, i was happy enough with the status quo before june 2016 (thats from 1995 up to 2016), but quite frankly its like this – if there are checkpoints and stops on the 6 roads i can go into the North, or if any of those roads are cratered again as they were pre-1995, i certainly will be demanding a referedum on a UI. There simply can be no other alternative at that point. Memories of the border campaign are not that far away.
You’d be better advised to be demanding a referendum on EU membership because it was them that insisted in those checkpoints that so annoy you.
Gio , in what way is it a ” A total misrepresentation of Brian Walker’s article.” …having read both Jude’s and Brian Walker’s article twice , I can only concur with Jude’s synopsis….it is a veiled warning not to rock the partitionist boat. However the absolute folly in Mr Walker’s article is his failure to separate 1949 from 2017. In 1949 the SOI was a catholic controlled backwater ,almost destitute and totally reliant on Britain for trade….The NOI was almost the polar opposite , a protestant fiefdom ,fairly wealthy (if you were Unionist ) sectarian in nature , but also reliant on Britain. Today , total role reversal has occurred , the SOI is a modern , open-minded progressive and successful trading state whilst the NOI languishes as the poor relative to everyone , surviving on handouts wherever it can get them. Another immense difference , unquantified by Walker is the difference in the composition of the population. here….the fiefdom has gone ( although it’s resurrection remains in Unionist dreamtime. ) In 1949 the Nationalist/Republican constituency was insignificant and voiceless….today it’s strong and vibrant and open-minded to change. At that time Unionist controlled NOI ,a bastion of engineering , was significantly important to Britain , today it’s an embarrassing insular appendage ….a millstone , that would quickly be discarded given the opportune moment. Basically the Brian Walkers ,RDE’s etc of Ireland are their Unionist counterparts ….stuck in a myopic time warp and oblivious to the realities evolving around them.
You concur with Jude? How surprising.
Where did Brian Walker say anything like ‘shut up about a United Ireland’?
Point it out to me.
It’s called informed intuition ,or reading between the lines…..a skill usually acquired as we progress through life.
Right so you can’t point it out then?
Why not just say so.
That pedant in you is surfacing again….Gio , every single day we are confronted by things we take as read….a person with a white stick (visual impairment ) , mobility scooter ( physical impairment ) etc etc…..by the tone and content of Mr Walker’s article the same rules apply….we use our discernment !
Well which part enabled you to intuitively decide that he was really saying shut up about a united Ireland?
Was it the part where he said a united Ireland was a legitimate goal?
Or the bit where he said calls for a border poll and so on could be a useful exercise?
Jude great point, who are the men of violence?
I suspect he means those who oppose equality, civil rights, GFA etc etc.
Well I’d suggest that the fellas putting Catholics and mixed families out of East Drrry could rightly be described as “men of violence”,
Don’t you agree?
They haven’t gone away you know.
The problem we have is that only one party is talking about a UI. Perhaps this will change after Brexit. The push for a UI has to come from the ground up. People have to show there is a demand. Media gurus are only interested in their big pay checks which is dependent of maintaining the status quo and praising the work of the governments, keeping the advertisements coming. The more a UI is talked about the more likely there will be one.
The SDLP, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein were at Faile taking about a United Ireland.
None of them had much of a clue about what they actually wanted.
What is there you don’t understand about a United Ireland,huge?
To be honest, I cant get off the starting line….
Tell me, in your own words, what you are prevented from doing in the Ireland that you now inhabit…..and what would be better in a United Ireland…..?
Voting for a government that can raise and lower taxes, borrow money, buy and sell assets, nationalise companies, bailout banks, not bailout banks, introduce language acts, amend constitution, have a constitution, have contitutional rights, not spend money on wars, not leave the EU, control our own border, be part of a sovereign state, marry an EU citizen and maintain rights, have a same sex marriage, learn Irish in schools (regardless of religion), not pay tuition fees for universities . . .
1/ Stormont can raise / lower taxes – the DUPers and the Shinners decided to equalise Corporation Tax with the South. They even proposed to borrow the £300 million to finance this. Stormont has already accumulated a debt of £2 billion.
2/ The DUPs/Shinners were central to Operation Eagle disposing £4.6 billion of assets for the bargain basement amount of £1.1 billion. But don’t worry it was only the Irish taxpayer that was being raped for the benefit of US vulture capitalists.
3/ Both Belfast Harbour and Translink are in the firing line to be privatised just to balance the books.
4/ Stormont bailed out the Presbyterian Mutual Society to the tune of £120 million. It was the bribe for the DUP agreeing to the devolution of Justice and Policing.
5/ Britain doesn’t have a written Constitution, but we still have civil, legal and Human Rights guaranteed by laws.
6/ The 26 Counties has had an Irish Language Act for ages – it wasn’t a success.
7/ Ireland might not partake in Wars but we do facilitate the US War machine at Shannon. I cant see that changing in a United Ireland.
8/ The EU lumbered the 26 Counties with an odious debt of £68 billion om threat of “financial bombs under Dublin”. I cant understand why any Irish person would want to finance the same people that financially raped our grandchildren.
9/ The delivery of Same Sex Marriage is a work in progress, and very new to Sinn Feins opportunist shopping basket.
As one of the IRA survivors of Loughall said at the 30th anniversary “The lads were out for the 32 County socialist republic – they weren’t out so some bloke can marry his boyfriend”.
10/ When Carol Ni Chulain pissed on the Irish Language groups in 2014 by cutting their grants, Sinn Fein never batted an eyelid.
But when the DUPers cut a much smaller amount of money in 2016, it has been sheer hysterical hyperbole ever since.
Incidentally, those Liofa cuts couldn’t have been too catastrophic – they were giving out free pens at the Sinn Fein National Convention in Belfast.
Jobs for the boys.
Lost your tongue?
Sorry Huge I don’t use my tongue to type 🙂
Anyways the South never had an Irish Language Act, however in 2003 it enacted the Official Languages Act which has been reasonably successful. Irish is also recognised as an official language in our constitution.
I don’t really know why you are telling me about Sinn Féin making cuts to Irish Language groups in 2014. As far as I know it was Foras na Gaeilge that made the cuts. But apart from this I’m not making an argument for Sinn Féin’s policies I’m making an argument for being part of a United Ireland where Irish would be taught in schools and be recognised as an Official Language of the state as it is now in the 26 counties and in the EU.
A recent court case said Same Sex Marriage from other parts of UK would not be recognised in NI. Ireland fully recognises Same Sex Marriage I couldn’t see this changing in a United Ireland. And even though you think it is a work in operation the biggest party in the 6 counties are willing to make it a red-line issue.
We were pulled out of the EU against the will of the majority of the people (no matter what you might think of it)
Ireland is a neutral country and does not fund wars, I would guess this would be further enhanced in a United Ireland as we would no longer have British Army Bases here.
I would prefer to be a member of a Republic with a written than have a super-rich monarchy funded out of the public purse.
When I said raise taxes I meant to collect and keep the taxes not hand them over to West Minister. Lowering corporation tax in NI is hardly the same thing
But the real sign of our utter powerlessness is the border and Brexit. The UK forced us into a referendum. And even though we voted against it we still have to leave a European Union that we wanted to stay in just because the English in England and in Wales wanted to leave. The 26 Counties could have the same type of referendum anytime but here in the North are not allowed a referendum as to whether we want to leave the UK as it is the decision of the British Secretary of State who neither represents us or was elected by us.
Anyways I’m not really sure why you are trying to argue with us anyways. Above all else we want a United Ireland mainly because we want to join the rest of our country and we believe that it would be a prosperous country. This feeling will not change. This is why we vote for parties that also want a United Ireland and this is why we visit this site. I’m not too sure where you stand on a United Ireland – it would seem that you don’t want one which is your prerogative but you have zero chance of convincing me that a country who fought bloody war after bloody war in this country have our best interests at heart.
1/ No, it was definitely Carol Ni Chulain as Culture Minister that swung the axe on language groups. There were no howls of anguish from SF at that time.
Whilst it would be commendable to have Irish as an official language, it smacks of tokenism if no-one actually speaks it.
Its much the same as having Jedi as an official religion of the UK.
Rather than mechanical imposition and legislation from above, I prefer the organic, bottom-up approach. Slaughtmeils in South Derry is a fabulous approach. And those sorts of Gaeltacht initiatives should be fully highlighted, financed and supported.
By the way, Irish is taught everyday in the Catholic schools, and as the first language in all the expanding Gaelscoils sector. Your comment seemed to suggest otherwise.
2/ The biggest party in the North have deep divisions about SSM. Sinn Fein know this but instead of being creative about solutions, the Shinners are cynically using the issue to beat them over the head. This is their Trojan Horse in operation.
DUP voters are light years ahead of their party on this issue.
They are also more amenable to reform on Abortion laws than Sinn Fein.
These issues should logically have been deferred to Strands 2 and 3 of the GFA years ago for resolution.
But since Strands 2 & 3 were allowed to die on the vine by the Irish and British governments, this issue has been allowed to fester way beyond it’s importance.
Incidentally, I cant remember Sinn Fein ever voicing any opposition to Section 28 in Britain, nor indeed resisting the “Save Ulster from Sodomy” campaign either by word or deed.
3/ The 26 Counties Neutrality is an illusion. Despite the best efforts of Left TDs like Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, the reality us that Ireland isn’t master of it’s own destinies.
4/ The UK joined the EEC as a sovereign nation, and it will leave the EU the same.
Norn Iron has been given Special status – vote for a United Ireland for an immediate return to the EU fold.
The problem that Sinn Fein have is that they signed away any residual dispute on Sovereignty to our British overlord 19 years ago.
They can bleat all they like about the undemocratic nature of Norn Iron being dragged by the tail by English nationalism. But don’t take it personal, the English done the same to Gibraltar and Scotland too.
The Shinners accepted the Sovereignty of Westminster a long long time ago – it’s too late to demand a replay. That game was won.
And like busses, you don’t get an article from Unionism about re-unification for decades and then there’s a gaggle of them burning rubber down the street.
Since Brexit we have been told repeatedly that 50%+1 is not a sufficient margin, that talking about re-unification, campaigning for a border poll will only result in Unionist terrorism, that it will “backfire” on the south (how?) and sure the majority of people voting for Nationalist parties don’t actually want re-unification.
In the five years preceding Brexit how many of these articles/blogs did you see like this?
There is no doubt that we are seeing more articles on the possible pros and cons of a united Ireland.
I think that is a good thing.
I presume you would not deny there are potential cons as well as pros?
There is no basis for supposing that unification will be easy and entirely beneficial.
The smaller the margin of the vote the tougher the transition is likely to be. Surely that is obvious.
Brian Walker’s article contained nothing especially controversial and seemed to be to be simply urging caution in the middle of the turmoil that Brexit is bringing.
These are the type of discussions we need to be welcoming rather than shutting down by shooting the messenger.
Go raibh maith agat, a Cholmáin
SF’s proposal to keep Stormont upon the reunification of Ireland is not acceptable to me as an Irish nationalist. I do not want to live under Stormont rule. I do not think that reconciliation in Ireland will be best served by allowing unionism to avoid living as equals in an Irish Nation State.
So, yes, let’s talk about reunification because SF seem to be mauling the idea.
In total agreement Cal , but neither do I want to live under Dublin Rule …..everything has to change , we want a new Ireland with an input from everyone including those classified today as Unionists…..yes those with ties to Britain can and will maintain those connections…..there’s hardly a family in Ireland today without some , however remote , association to Britain ….years of poverty and emigration guaranteed that. Reassuring Unionists does not mean giving up your inalienable birthright to live in a sovereign independent country….they have to learn to accept the majority decision ,making special dispensations for them will sow seed of further discontent. I still think that there may be value in revisiting the ” Éire Nua ” document…….a progressive and updated version could establish a foundation broadly acceptable to the majority in the country.
P.s please don’t talk of that pesky glenanne gang either. No matter how many former members come forward and disclose their dirty tricks and how far mi5/special branch were in with them. We mustn’t talk about it. We must not veer from the standard narrative of who the ‘good guys’ were and who were the ‘bad guys’.
But one interesting revelation this former cop claimed was that the shooting up of a minibus two days after the Miami showband attack was wrongly attributed to the IRA. The police and media at the time ran with the narrative that this attack was ‘in retaliation’ for Miami atrocity. Alas this cop attended the scene(in his day job as a cop) and knew it was unionist terrorists that did it. He also points out that the HET still apportions blame for the attack on the IRA because they claim one of the weapons used in the attack was used in further attacks by the IRA. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?…………kingsmill?
Would you have a link for that mini-bus attack that you’re referring to?
For some reasons I can’t seem to send you the link on this blog. However if you check out yesterday’s Irish news on Facebook you can click onto the link re the former cops
‘s interview about robin Jackson. Astonishing how it didn’t make any inroads on to the local news etc……but not surprising either.
I’ll track it down..
It was all over the news.
A green, white and YELLOW card at the very least, Esteemed Blogmeister, warranted showing to fintan o TOOLE for perpetrating the following helmet-removing howler of a phrase in said article :
– I like to think of the grandees sitting around the table in Downing Street saying the strange Gaelic names to themselves in tones of pure bewilderment: Belcoo, Magheraveely, Rosslea, Aghalane, Derrygonnelly. But the first time is tragedy; the second time is farce.
Strange Gaelic names?
Even the least experienced and most lacking in eyesight of topographical referees would have blown his shrill whistle at that one. And admonished the former all time record holder of amateur All-Stars-turned-funded Pundit in the following farce-kicking terms:
-The tally-stick of white, linguistic supremacy cannot still be illegally used for insertion in the face-guard of Gaelic placenames such as Béal Cú, Machaire Mhílic, Ros Liath, Achadh and Doire ó gConaile.
And then, on realising the should-know-better surname of the serial card-recipient – TOOL(E) – the referee would then change tack. And immediately opt for a RED, white and blue card.
In the full realisation that once a Stick always a reckless tally-stick wielder with a penchant for the third-man tackle. It is the shtick of the Stick. As even the briefest of gawks at the Hawkeye recording of the latest on-field atrocity by the game-for-a-gaff grqndee of Gamesmanship will verify.
Curiously, this most recent card will be greeted with a diminished Belcoo Boo from the corporate boxes.
All the dreary people, where have they all gone to?
All the dreary people (sadly dwindling in number to critical dímheas and closure-reaching proportions) who subscribe to The Unionist Times for (gulp) the pleasure principle, resolutely remain as blind as dingbats when it comes to dinsheanchas.
BOD, can you spare a RHYME?
A lack in the English Limerick
Locating a rhyme that can stick
An Cur Isteach
To tick off this Mickey the Stick.
The British audio media seem to be able to research and correctly pronounce all sorts of ‘strange’ names from Africa,India and even France but when our local uncle media Toms are faced with non English or gobbledygook (like Slaughtmeils 🙂 they bull on through or snigger and apologize. We have been bombarded with linguistic Malapropisms since the English took over the running of this country and now quite a few fashionistas have adopted them as their own.Like ‘Keedy’ and ‘Dunacky’. That is a lack of respect in my book. Also to misspell time after time, someone’s name in the native language – when a simple google would provide the correct spelling – also smacks of disrespect.
Strategic thinking includes timing. There are clearly better times to do things. One of the key problems facing northern nationalists will be a reluctance by southerners to get involved. Partition happened in the first place, not just because the British supported it and the unionists wanted it but because it suited southerners not to have to deal with unionists. In treaty debates there was far more said about the crown and the oath than about the north. And indeed, when the first Dáil met, where was the strategic thinking that was going to prevent partition?
Yes it is easy for oppressors and enablers to say “the time is not right” – but when you’re planning major political change, you do have to get your allies in line, and your timing right. Communism in Europe fell because the right situations developed, the right people were in place etc.
Take the border poll. Can anyone tell me what the point of having one now would be? It is absolutely certain we would lose, and probably lose heavily. At least at the moment we can point to nationalist votes in recent elections. We’ve no way of knowing that they’ll translate in a border poll.
Similarly, how do we ensure on the southern side continuing real support for a united Ireland? The nightmare is a future border poll with 50% plus 1 and a southern electorate who say “no thanks”.
Youll be delighted to learn that Chris Donnelly calls this Border Poll strategy “the Hail Mary pass”. When all else fails just throw the ball long and high, and hope that someone on your team can catch it first.
After 35 years of armed conflict that led nowhere, followed by 19 years of rollovers, this Border Poll nonsense, based entirely on a tribal appeal and the mad scribblings on a back of a packet of fags, seems to be enough to keep the Faithful distracted until the next bandwagon comes along.
As it stands, the Shinners have played their way out of Stormont, Leinster House and Westminster.
And the European Parliament handed them a crushing defeat on their incessant demands for “Special Status”.
That’s one helluva feat.
My analogy would be that the Shinners have now cut themselves adrift, and they’re drowning, pitifully – it turns out that they weren’t crocodiles after all, because crocodiles are ideally adapted to deep waters.
The Shinners are frogs.
The sort of frogs that will passively sit in water until it boils them alive.
Theyre now hoping that Jeremy or Mehole will be in a position sometime soon to send a life-raft to rescue old friends, but such is the level of Sinn Feins toxicity, even thats not altogether clear if that can ever happen.
Trout-in-shire may well prevent their access to the oxygen supplies, anytime he chooses.
They see a raised piece of ground behind them, but they already know it’s inhabited by embittered dinosaurs.
Powerful but slow, the dinosaurs had previously formed an unlikely symbiotic relationship with the frogs – the frogs clean up the crumbs whilst the dinosaurs provide the big meals to sustain both species.
The frogs depended on the dinosaurs, and the dinosaurs do like a tidy nest, albeit the nest was always a bit too hot for the frogs comfort.
Back then, in the glory days, they were the biggest frogs in the small pond.
With their great numbers. they could pick on the small fry with impunity, and the frogs thrived.
But, on the downside, the dinosaurs would occasionally clumsily tread on one of the little frogs with their great weight. Splat.
But now the frogs were reduced to being the tasty morsels that the big fish and birds dont hesitate to feast on.
Maybe those dinosaurs weren’t too bad after all.
Dare they return?
On what other blog would you be treated to such poetry and flights of imagination. I see that PBP has come out in favour of a stand alone ILA. Here comes the split. I’m with the Popular Front of Tooting. I know I’ll be up against the wall when the revolution comes but you have to die of something – anything but hectoring, lecturing, soi-disant ‘socialists’.
Dont you see the irony of a Shinner, (a Shinner!!) goading anybody about Splits and Summary Executions??
Whether it’s Sticks versus IRPs, Pro-Treatyites versus Anti-Treatyites, Fianna Fail versus Fine Gael, Provos versus Dissies, and all their various incarnations in between, the Mother-Ship remains Sinn Fein.
Youve all proven that you’re all happy to kill anybody for your own beliefs.
That’s because you all spend your whole existence ideologically rudderless, paranoiac, contradictory, delusional, and hoping to jump on the next available bandwagon.
Ps. I hate to be the first to point this out to you, but Wolfie Smith was a fictional character of Comedy.
On the other hand, the bloody dynasty of Sinn Fein groups, and their never-ending feuding, were pure Horror.
And, by the way, Hugh is spelled with a ‘h’. Good luck in your quest for world domination. Unfortunately I won’t be here to enjoy it. From each according to his capabilities and to each according to his needs. Éirigí, a lucht ocrais ó bhur gcodhladh etc etc.
“Our demands most moderate are, we only demand the World”. – James Connolly.
If it’s good enough for him, then that’s good enough for me.